Friday, January 29, 2016

Ethics Opinion May Allow Paxton to Use Donations for Legal Bills

The Texas Ethics Commission is considering the adoption of a legal opinion clearing the way for indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton to use unlimited donations to pay for his criminal defense.

Read our talking points.
Read background article from the Houston Chronicle.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TPJ Complaint Targets Secret Cruz Loans

TPJ sent a formal complaint to the Federal Election Commission urging the agency to investigate Ted Cruz's failure to disclose bank loans that he used to help finance his 2012 Texas senate race.

Read the full TPJ press release.
Link to the TPJ complaint letter to the FEC.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lobby Watch:
Deloitte Adroit at Funding Greg Abbott

A recent hearing on the Attorney General's disastrous child-support software traced substantial blame to Deloitte Consulting. An expert testified that then-AG Abbott hired Deloitte to design the project and that that design seemed to be designed to fail. 

Deloitte also steered more campaign cash to Abbott than any other Texas politician. It delivered almost half that money in a same-day bundle in 2014.  If only AG child-support payments were that smooth and coordinated! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lobby Watch: Formula One: Runnin' on Empty
After a brutal year for Austin's troubled Formula One franchise, state and local officials in Austin must wean F1 from the public teat or subsidize the track's wealthy owners with even more millions of tax dollars. If Austin's latest F1 race was ruined by a downpour and a competing race in Mexico are Texas taxpayers to blame? 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chief Justice Hecht Beats His $29,000 Ethics Fine Hecht negotiated a settlement with the Texas Ethics Commission over his 2008, $29,000 fine for excepting and failing to report over $100,000 in donated legal services.  TPJ director Craig McDonald commented, "Hecht's fine is 7 years late and $28,000 short."

Last October, TPJ filed suit to require the Attorney General to pursue Hecht's lingering fine.  Details on TPJ's filing are here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lobby Watch: Perry Promotes Secretive Contractor to his Dark-Money Funder

Rick Perry is promoting GovWhiz, a secretive government contract company, to Perry-appointed Lottery Commission Chair Winston Krause. Krause founded a secretive non-profit that spent at least $1.3 million pushing Perry's presidency. If GovWhiz bankrolled Krause's pro-Perry Americans for Economic Freedom, nobody needs to inform the public about that conflict.

Recent Texas contracting reforms did little to assure transparency, as Texas' sleazy revolving door spins freely in the dark.
Read about the GovWhiz Biz as usual in Lobby Watch.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Lobby Watch: RRC won't rattle its benefactors

The Texas Railroad Commission recently released a preliminary study concluding that an ExxonMobil subsidiary’s fracking activity probably did not cause seismic jitters that rattled the town of Azle in 2013.  If fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes can $4.9 million in campaign contributions turn public officials into lap dogs?
Learn the science behind campaign contributions in Lobby Watch.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

On Ken Paxton arraignment

"Texas’s top lawman is an admitted lawbreaker. Attorney General Ken Paxton has engaged in fraud and outright deception to personally profit at the expense of others. Paxton will be dogged by a cloud of corruption and felony charges into the foreseeable future. Paxton must step aside now to preserve dignity and trust in the Office of Attorney General. The only ethical path for Ken Paxton is resignation. The state's highest law enforcement officer must be held to the highest standards. - Craig McDonald, director, Texans for Public Justice.”

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Paxton Indictments: Background & Timeline


TPJ has prepared a background memo and timeline on the Paxton indictments.

View the Paxton backgrounder.


Monday, August 10, 2015

NY Times & Houston Chronicle profile TPJ

The felony indictment of AG Ken Paxton has prompted the NY Times and the Houston Chronicle to publish profiles on TPJ's work. 

NY Times: Texas Watchdog Group Calls Another Political Titan to Account 


McKINNEY, Tex. — When Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas was booked at the county jail here Monday on felony fraud charges, he joined some pretty high-powered company, including Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, and former Gov. Rick Perry, as powerful Texas officials indicted while in office over the last decade.

The three had something else in common: a former Michigan community organizer named Craig McDonald. The cases leading to the indictments, Mr. DeLay’s in 2005 and Mr. Perry’s in 2014, started with the low-budget, nonprofit government watchdog group Mr. McDonald runs out of a basement office in Austin, with 30-year-old furniture and few frills. (Read more.)

Watchdog makes big waves with small resources 
 By Peggy Fikac August 9, 2015

AUSTIN — Attorney General Ken Paxton and former Gov. Rick Perry may have a long legal slog ahead as they battle their indictments. But Craig McDonald, whose watchdog group filed the criminal complaints that spurred both cases, isn’t saying where he thinks their road should end. The job he sees for himself with regard to their cases was all but over when the indictments were delivered. Read the full profile.